Overseas Demand a Concern

AUSTRALIA - The latest export figures for September, for both beef and lamb, continue to highlight the sluggish profile for Australian product across a range of markets, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 8 October 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

While the high A$ has been a constant hurdle for the export industry to clear, the long awaited general recovery in export demand, which will be needed to absorb the forecast higher production, still appears to be some way off, placing additional short-term pressure upon Australian livestock prices.

Cattle prices this week were again mixed, with the EYCI relatively steady at 360.25¢/kg cwt, while medium steers kicked 10¢, to average 334¢/kg cwt. Heavy steers in Queensland improved 6¢ on last week, to 331¢/kg cwt, which given the very high recent slaughter, and reports of very good lines reaching processors from western and central Queensland, was somewhat unexpected.

While beef exports to Japan in September fell significantly year-on-year, along with lower volumes to Korea, Indonesia and Russia, exports did increase to the US and China – with one bright spot being shipments to China smashing the previous monthly record, exceeding 4,000 tonnes swt. Overall exports for the month declined 2%, falling just short of 80,000 tonnes swt.

Lamb prices continue to hover below 400¢, as the number of lambs heading straight to processors remains significantly above last year’s levels. One very interesting point to note this week was that while lamb slaughter has been well above 2011, facilitating the record pace of lamb exports in 2012, exports in September were 8% lower - the first year-on-year fall so far this year. As to whether the September decline is just a statistical anomaly, or indeed something more sustained, overseas demand throughout October and November will be very closely monitored – especially given lamb slaughter is expected to remain at high levels.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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